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Sustainable economic development in Africa

The debate on economic development in Aub-Sahara Africa has been changing. Raising economic growth, productivity, and investment remains on the top of the policy agenda, but aspects of sustainability and prevention of forced displacement have significantly gained in importance. In the development community it is now consensus that economic development has to be sustainable.

The research presented in this Website Special examines to what extent economic development in Africa has been environmentally, socially and economically sustainable in recent years and what kinds of economic reforms are needed to promote sustainable development in Africa.

Our research suggests that in Africa, there have been numerous policy innovations to develop its economies in a sustainable manner, including for instance the development of environmental standards for investments or the development of local currency bond markets to reduce risks of external indebtedness. However, our research also demonstrates the barriers to sustainable economic development, which tend to be both financial and behavioral, and tradeoffs between different dimensions of economic development such as productivity and ecologic sustainability.

Research Staff




Regional Expertise Africa


Cover: AuS 9/2017

Wie weiter mit den Wirtschaftspartnerschafts- Abkommen? Gedanken zu einer vertieften EU-Afrika-Handelspartnerschaft
Brandi, Clara / Merran Hulse / Niels Keijzer (2017)
Analysen und Stellungnahmen 9/2017

In the media

Logo: WDR 5

WDR5 Funkhausgespräche
Marshall-Plan für Afrika: Kann das klappen?
Köln, 16 March 2017


What can be expected from international frameworks to regulate large-scale land and water acquisitions in sub-Sahara Africa?

Brüntrup, Michael / Waltina Scheumann / Axel Berger / Lidija Christmann / Clara Brandi (2014)
in: Law and Development Review 7 (2), 433-471